What’s in a name?

WhatsInAName

An awful lot!

Heatwaves, floods and thunderstorms, we are witnessing a great moment in history, one that will live with us for generations.  Welcome to the birth of our new blog!  On these pages our aim is to provide our opinion on marketing, PR, engagement, design and much more. And hopefully share some insight into the news of the day.

Now, we’re not terribly superstitious here at Word Association, so the timing of the royal birth and our new blog is purely coincidental (we wouldn’t want to steal the wee fella’s limelight would we?).  And coming from the PR world, you can’t help but notice how the limelight is managed at times like these.  Yes, for sure, even our cynical heads couldn’t help but be moved by the sight of the little baby outside the steps of the hospital, but strip it away a bit and you ask yourself why did they not announce the name there and then.

As most parents know that naming the baby is one of the things you do to death throughout the nine months pregnancy.  You start with the book of names at A and work your way through to Z, and then usually back again – that’s unless your child is called Aaron!

If we were handling it (the PR, not the baby, we’re too clumsy for that) we’d recommend that the name is released just as the initial media attention is dying down and then boom – make the announcement.  So were we being played with when it came to releasing the name or were the couple as Prince William said to the media outside the hospital genuinely “still working on the name”?

Choosing a name certainly is worth working on, a huge decision, one being pored over today by the world’s media, a decision for life.   It’s a tricky process for sure, and let’s not kid ourselves it really is a bit like a branding exercise (don’t forget the mishandled attempts to move the Post Office to Consignia).  Give something the wrong name and you can devalue a brand in a moment.

Now, we’re not suggesting that a PR agency is involved with the naming of the future King (heaven’s above!), however it does bring to the fore issues about how you name something and the impact of your choice. You need to be brave in your decisions but most importantly you need to know what it means to the brand.

Here at Word Association we are often asked to submit ideas for names (along with titles, slogans etc.) anything from newsletters and intranets to companies and colleges.  Getting them right is really important.  It’s something we enjoy and are good at and have put in place a process to make sure our clients get ideas that are creative, relevant and good for brand.

As with any marketing project the process starts with understanding the basics, objectives, audiences, messages etc.  It also involves carrying out very detailed research which can sometimes take in the history and geography of an organisation, information about competitors and much more.  We then get together as a team of creatives to work through our ideas.  That comprehensive brief, background information and access to a range of online and offline resources coupled with a creative brainstorm techniques enable us to come up with a strong shortlist of names.  We then over a period a time test the names and, where appropriate, carry out a series of checks on competitors and whether domains and company names are available.

Then comes the hard bit… selling it to the client then their board, staff, stakeholders, customers.  Names, like brands, are emotive and everyone has a view.  When we pitch our name recommendation – and there is usually just one – we take our audience on the same journey we’ve been on the background, brief, the research, the rationale, the creative process then finally the big reveal.

We’ve had some great successes lately naming a Loughborough school, Charnwood College and a Leicestershire accountancy firm Accapita.  Both suggestions were backed immediately and then supported by other key stakeholders leading to their relatively straightforward adoption.

We’ve also come up with strong names for some of our newsletters:
•    Oxhey Gen – Thrive Homes newsletter for its residents in South Oxhey
•    The Noize – for a tabloid style community newspaper for Beechdale Community Housing in Walsall.  Slade’s Noddy Holder grew up on the estate.

All in all it looks like the name Prince  George Alexander Louis has been positively received by the world’s media.  Wonder if the same will be said of the more exotically named Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall’s choice of baby name in early 2014.  Maybe they should  call us in for advice!

To find out more about our services  click here, or email mark@wordassociation.co.uk

Posted on by Rosie Word

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